an Experiment Report
During the two years of the
IB physics course you will perform a number of
experiments. You must keep a record
of ALL the experiments which you perform. For a few
of the experiments you will be required to present a full,
detailed report, which will be graded. The grades will form
part of your final result (remember, a significant percentage
of your final result will be based on your practical
abilities). It is recommended that your reports should be set
out as follows.
The title must state clearly the aim of the
experiment. It must tell the reader what you are trying
to prove or measure. For example, “Ohm’s Law” is not
a suitable title for an experiment report, whereas,
“Experiment to verify Ohm’s Law” is a suitable title.
Similarly, “Relative Density” is not a suitable
title but “Experiment to measure the Relative Density of
some common substances” is a suitable title.
experiment is designed to verify a law, state the law
in the introduction. The introduction can also
include such ideas as why the results/conclusions of the
experiment are important in every-day life, in industry
etc. (it might even include a little historical
background, but not too much).
Before starting your investigation you usually have some
idea of what you expect the results will show. The
hypothesis is basically a statement of what you are
expecting. For example, if you are trying to show how
two variables are related, state the expected relation
and try to give and explanation of you choice. For
example, when Newton was thinking about gravitation, he
assumed that the strength of the force of gravity would
become weaker as one moved further from the body causing
the field. He suggested that the relation between force
and distance might involve the inverse of the distance
squared and to defend this choice he pointed out
that the surface area of a sphere depends on the
square of its radius. Various observations then
confirmed this suggestion.
In most cases a labelled diagram is useful. Every
electrical experiment report must include a circuit
diagram. If diagrams are drawn by hand, use a
sharp pencil and a ruler. (If you use a
computer, learn how to make the best use of your drawing
section should give enough detail to enable another
experimenter to repeat the experiment to see if he/she
agrees with your results/conclusions. The method should
description of the apparatus used
measurements you made (if possible, in the order you
precautions you took to ensure the best accuracy
of any unexpected difficulties (and how you overcame
You should record all the measurements made
during the experiment along with some indication of the
uncertainty of each measurement. Whenever possible,
present the results in the form of a table.
section should include any information which might help
the reader to understand how you used your measurements
to reach the aim mentioned in the title. For example, in
one experiment, designed to measure the relative
density of a substance, the actual measurements made
are two distances. The theory section of a report
on such an experiment must include a clear explanation
of how these two distances are related to the
relative density of the substance being measured.
experiment report must have a conclusion. If your aim
was to verify a law, state whether you have verified the
law or not. If the aim was to measure a particular
quantity (e.g. relative density), give the final
measured value of the quantity in the conclusion.
In the case
of an experiment designed to measure some well known
physical constant you should attempt to explain any
difference between your result and the accepted result.
For example, if you find
you should try to think of the most likely cause of this
experiment results were in some way unsatisfactory, try
to suggest how the investigation might be improved in
order to improve accuracy of measurements or range of
data obtained. This evaluation section should include
comments on the apparatus used and the method employed.